Community research your way, at your pace
Like most businesses in the UK, our office doors have been closed for the last few months, forcing us to open our minds to change. Flexibility and agility are critical as we continue to foster collaboration between brands and consumers. We had to find new ways to connect with diverse audiences and observe changing consumer habits, needs and behaviours. We had to re-evaluate what people expect from a brand in these difficult times.
As a digital-first agency, our technologies, tools and platforms offer a flexible, reliable solution as the landscape continues to shift around us. Most notably, online communities have once again come to the fore in a time of crisis, as they have many times in recent years. Since their inception 15 years ago, insight communities have evolved to survive the ever-increasing pace of change in the world and provide an open and ongoing dialogue between people and brands. Communities are versatile; they can be large or small, ongoing or pop-up, and run by agencies or clients. They allow you to conduct research your way, at your pace. Any type, any topic, any time.
Fostering collaboration through flexibility: how to connect and who to connect with
Flexibility in how to connect, coupled with who to connect with, fosters the best type of collaboration. Brands must collaborate with mainstream audiences, to understand unmet needs, explore untapped behaviour, and evaluate ideas, concepts and experiences. But if we apply the 90:9:1 principle of Google VP Bradley Horowitz, these mainstream consumers (representing 90% of the population) are equipped only to validate and evaluate ideas. And we believe brands must also collaborate with creators (1%) and curators (9%) to achieve richer, more diverse insights. To facilitate this, we use eÿeka, our global network of +425,000 creatives to develop or activate original ideas; and we turn to our Illume Network of leading-edge consumers to uncover emerging trends and optimise solutions in a particular category or market. The power of collaboration, therefore, is in the mix!
#Validation – How GSK has 24/7 access to their customers
GSK Consumer Healthcare wanted to include global consumers more in their decision making. They envisioned a community that allowed them to ‘immerse the consumer in every conversation through delivering unbiased, actionable, forward-thinking insights that drive successful innovation’. GSK Switzerland needed a solution with capacity, over 150 reports a year, and with speed, that gave them 24/7 access to their customers. We built the ‘Health Hub’ community to span 8 countries and contain over 8,000 members, supporting their key categories and providing local-language research where needed.
The Health Hub is going from strength to strength. Outputs vary from ideation to concept exploration and understanding behaviour through mobile ethnography. Our ability to produce research in the most appropriate language has really engaged our international stakeholders.
“The expertise and passion for delivering insights has been highly influential and led to a true step change in the way we view research (…) InSites Consulting is always seeking to fuse learnings by incorporating trends and primary research. I have never come across a more driven, flexible and above all proactive research agency (…).”
Joanna Stanbridge, Senior Insight Manager at GSK Consumer Healthcare
Twitter could see there was a significant and growing trend around micro communities on its platform. What they didn’t understand was what was happening, why, and what opportunities this represented for their brand partners. Our Culture + Trends research aimed to deep dive into the cultural shifts and psychological needs behind emerging community behaviour on social media. Adding nuance to our analysis, we used our Illume Network to deep dive into four showcase communities. We conducted in-depth interviews with 5 Illume Guides, followed by self-ethnography and voxpop tasks to help us bring their voices to life in reporting.
Our Illume Guides provided rich insights into the cultural shifts impacting their community, allowing us to identify where brands have a right to play. Their point of view was brought to life at Twitter’s annual brand event, via immersive room installations and in a set of community playbooks.
“The Illume Guides really brought it to life in a way that wouldn’t have happened otherwise, not just in terms of the experiential event spaces but also in the deck, by bringing all the research back to real people and their real experiences. And the Culture + Trends work places everything in a broader context, which helped to deepen our understanding of what was happening on Twitter, and ensure that the recommendations for brands were strategic and more broadly relevant.”
Rob Sanders, Research Manager at Twitter
#Creation – How one Moroccan creative designed Duracell’s advertising for 35+ countries
Duracell International wanted to launch a campaign linking the brand, its long-lasting power benefit, and the bunny that never stops, to make it relevant for running. Our eÿeka network was to create an engaging, original and fun poster. In just two weeks, creatives across 29 countries submitted 98 ideas. Insights from 20 winning ideas powered the Running Campaign strategy, and 10 posters directly inspired the final creative execution for social media and cinemagraphs. One idea, from a Moroccan creator, inspired the key visual for the brand’s always-on communication for use in 35+ countries. It was adapted to in-store, print, social posts and outdoor advertising.
“The eÿeka network’s ‘beauty’ provides brands with near real-time insight generation at a global level, with light labor and costs for brands. And a network like eÿeka offers a condensed, faster process, from insight generation straight through to production. This is critical for creative that is consumed at speed, like social media. The campaign was developed in six months, from contest to store and online!“
Tatiana-Vivienne Jouanneau, CMO at Duracell
Achieving agile and fast decision-making through online communities
In today’s unpredictable business environment, brands must harness different voices and enter a mode of agile and fast decision making to survive and even thrive. To do this successfully with an online community, I’d recommend that, as a brand:
- You choose a community platform that suits your service needs, be it self-service, full-service or somewhere in between;
- You think about residents (your core target) and visitors (sub-targets) to establish the size of your community;
- You define the duration of your community based on objectives – pop-up for agile co-creation and innovation vs structural for ongoing connection and collaboration;
- You invite the right people to take part in research by acknowledging the 90:9:1 principle.
Whether exploring branding, innovation or customer experience, online communities foster collaboration and trust so that people and brands can shape the future better, together.